Calderdale Council’s Cabinet has revealed challenging budget proposals which are essential so that it can continue to balance the books.
The draft proposals, which were presented at a Cabinet meeting on 16 January 2017 at Halifax Town Hall, cover the next three financial years to 2019/20.
Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said:
“We are again facing exceptional challenges to our budget over the next three years, having already been required to make savings of over £90 million since 2010. This year the Government has reduced our revenue support grant by a further £7.5 million.
“Despite this, through careful and responsible management, we have made sure that the Council has maintained a position of financial stability at a time when the demand for our services is steadily rising.
“We will continue to provide those Council services which are vital to our communities: protecting vulnerable children and adults; maintaining our highways network and making sure that our neighbourhoods are safe, clean and attractive places to live and work.
“However we now need to make some difficult decisions. We will have to ask local people to pay a bit more and we have to make some tough choices about some of the services we will provide in future as we now need to find an extra £12 million in savings each year by 2019/20.
“This is not easy to achieve, and I would urge all our residents and local businesses to read and comment on our proposals during the consultation period.”
The Cabinet will continue to invest in and prioritise three key areas: growing the economy; reducing inequalities and creating a sustainable future.
The budget proposals include a 1.95% rise in Council Tax rates in the three years to 2019/20. To help the Council meet the increasing demand for high quality care for our older residents the Cabinet is also proposing to use the Social Care Precept to raise Council Tax bills by a further 3% in both 2017-18 and 2018-19.
The Social Care Precept was introduced by the Government to help local authorities fund the continuing growth in demand for adult social care services as the population ages.
The Cabinet is proposing to invest £2m in Adults and Children’s Services next year to meet the growing cost pressures we are facing as we look after our most vulnerable residents.
Support will also continue for the Calder Valley following the unprecedented flooding in 2015, with extra resources being allocated to flood maintenance and planning. The Highways service, particularly drainage, will receive an extra £600k of funding, to provide the improvements needed to deliver a well maintained network. In total this will be an investment of £3.3m by 2019/20.
The Cabinet proposals also include plans to continue working with our health partners to guarantee further funding for the Staying Well programme, which helps tackle loneliness and encourages people to stay active and independent. Lonely people are more prone to depression and have an increased chance of developing other medical conditions. By intervening early the programme can help people to feel better and reduce demand on health and care services.
To save money there will be some changes to Council services and these are outlined in the Cabinet’s budget proposals. These include:
- reducing the number of managers and other staff by merging teams and moving more services on-line
- reducing the opening hours of some services including museums, libraries and waste centres
- reducing some programmes from public health
- changing the timing of some services – for example, the grass may be cut less frequently in some parks
- reducing the funding of some of the services provided by voluntary sector
- reducing some of the money the Council pays to Metro for bus and transport services
- reducing spending on IT, staff training and other internal services, although we will keep using new technology to improve services, for example, helping to look after older people at home.
The budget proposals are available to view at Budget 2017 . People can have their say on the budget proposals:
By attending a drop in session at Halifax Town Hall: 2pm – 4pm Thursday 2 February, Budget consultation: tea, tour and a chat
Take a tour of Halifax Town Hall before reviewing the Cabinet’s budget proposals with Council Officers and Cabinet Members.
This is your chance to find out more about the Grade II* listed building and also offer your opinion on changes being made to Council services.
Book a place on this free event at Budget consultation – a tea, a tour and a chat(external link)
By emailing us:
Download the feedback form at Budget 2017 and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
By writing to us:
Complete the form at Budget 2017 and post it (no stamp required) to:
Licence number RTJK-SCKU-XGCL
Halifax HX1 1UJ
All responses will be considered before the final recommendations are made by Cabinet on Monday 13 February 2017.
Final decisions will be taken at the Annual Budget Council meeting at 6pm on Monday 27 February 2017 at Halifax Town Hall.